142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Policy Surveillance:A New Tool for Public Health

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Scott Burris, JD , Temple University Beasley School of Law, Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice, Philadelphia, PA
Law is a powerful tool in improving population health. Laws can keep people safe and healthy by encouraging the use of seat belts or child restraint systems and by keeping our environment safe from toxins. Laws can also have important unintended effects, both positive and negative, on population health. Understanding how policies vary and how these variations develop over time is just as important to promoting population health as understanding the distribution and spread of disease or health risks. Policy surveillance, which is the systematic collection and analysis of laws and policies, allows us to create scientific data for evaluation, track the progress of health policy campaigns, spread policy innovations, and support the enhancement of policy capacity in the public health workforce and the community.

In a time of limited resources for public health work, proponents of public wider use of policy surveillance bear a burden of demonstrating its value and cost-effectiveness.  The emerging approach to policy surveillance represented in this panel aims meets this burden.  By any objective measure, law is an important facet of public health practice.  Numerous expert panels have recommended increasing legal capacity of public health agencies and personnel, and programs like the Network for Public Health Law and the CDC’s Public Health Law Program have shown the value of this investment.  Policy surveillance, practiced within a model of legal epidemiology, is efficient because the use of scientific research methods and the resources of the web allows the same legal research to serve many different needs.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the value of policy surveillance and its ability to efficiently and systematically improve laws and their impact on population health. Describe the elements of policy surveillance and the process for conducting policy surveillance.

Keyword(s): Law, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor of law at Temple University and am the Co-Director of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice. I am responsible for the development of the policy surveillance program, where we create legal datasets and development the methods to be used in policy surveillance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.